Lee vows to help young people launch startups

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Lee vows to help young people launch startups

President Lee Myung-bak vowed yesterday to provide more institutional support for young people seeking to launch their own startups in the knowledge-based sector, saying he hopes that Korea will produce world-renowned business leaders like Mark Zuckerberg, the American computer programmer who founded Facebook.

“Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook at the age of 20 and nurtured it into a globally renowned social networking service. To nurture such pioneers in Korea, the government will create an open environment in which young people can take on new challenges,” Lee said in his biweekly radio address.

Korea is known as one of the world’s most Internet-savvy nations, but most of its younger people still prefer stable and high-paying jobs like being lawyers and medical doctors to venturing into their own businesses.

“But in the 21st century, I hope to see more and more young people express their creativity and challenge the global arena to seize greater opportunities,” Lee said.

The president, who was once the CEO of a construction firm, branded Korea’s contemporary youth as the “G-20 Generation.”

Korea played host to the G-20 Summit last November, a show of the country’s enhanced standing in the international community and its growing influence on a global scale.

“The G-20 Generation is characterized by a challenging spirit based on positive thinking and by a capacity to enjoy what they do,” Lee said. “Given their creativity and pioneering spirit, I believe our youngsters have more than enough ability to achieve their goals.”

A positive sign is that the number of single-person companies in the nation’s knowledge service field increased to 230,000 last year from 200,000 in 2009, he added.

Lee stressed that the future of Korea depends on the G-20 Generation, and he promised to expand infrastructure for startups in the information and technology sector.

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